Forum Rocket Italian Italian Grammar Why is the conditional tense of "potere" used in this sentence?

Why is the conditional tense of "potere" used in this sentence?

dianalundbom

dianalundbom

Level 3, Lesson 16.1 includes this sentence in the conversation:

Pensavo che potremmo fare una festa in giardino.

Why is "potremmo" used in conditional tense form rather than in subjunctive tense form of verb potere?

Grazie

 
caterina-rocket-italian-tutor

caterina-rocket-italian-tutor

Hi dianalundbom, 

That's an incredibly interesting point!

Indeed, most of the times, we use "congiuntivo" (subjunctive tense) after the word "che". 
However, with verbs like "pensare" (to think), "immaginare" (to imagine) and "credere" (to believe) you could use the "condizionale" (conditional tense) when the sentence states something possible.

For instance:
Paolo pensa che potresti andare via. (conditional tense) ---> Paolo thinks that you could go away as there is the actual possibility that you could go away

Paolo pensa che tu possa andare via. (subjunctive tense) ---> Paolo thinks that you could go away, but it's just his opinion


However, the actual sentence in the conversation is slightly different:
Pensavo che potremmo fare una festa in giardino
(I) thought that (we) could have a party in the garden

In this specific case, it is not possible to use the subjunctive tense as the speaker is making a proposal, stating that "they could have a party". In these cases,  when you want to refer to what could or should happen, you need to use the conditional tense. 

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions!
 
dianalundbom

dianalundbom

Ciao Caterina.  Grazie mille per la tua risposta.  Pensavo che la seconda clausola dovesse dipendere da qualcosa che accadeva nella prima clausola.  Ora capisco che non e un requisito per il tempo conditzionale.  Ci vorra molta pratica per padroneggiare tutti questi tempi verbali!!!

Faccio fatica..
Diana
caterina-rocket-italian-tutor

caterina-rocket-italian-tutor

Ciao Diana, 

Non ti devi assolutamente preoccupare, l'utilizzo del congiuntivo (specialmene in casi ambigui come questo) è davvero ostico! Sono più che certa che con ancora un po' di pratica saranno un gioco da ragazzi!  :) 

Caterina

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